Wednesday, July 17, 2024

NWC’s Social and Behaviour Communication Campaign reaches San Pedro

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As per the Belize Crime Observatory, gender-based violence has been increasing since 2021 and remains a vital issue in the National Gender Policy, seeking to end acts of violence affecting women and girls. To further raise awareness on this issue, the National Women’s Commission (NWC) is championing a move dubbed the Social and Behaviour Communication Campaign (SBCC) to spread the message of the need to change people’s way of socializing and how they deal with differences. The campaign reached San Pedro Town on Thursday, August 24th, and presenters of the sensitization strategy engaged a group of island stakeholders at a session held at the Grand Caribe Resort, where vital information was shared.
Those attending the SBCC session, female in the majority, represented different sectors of the island community. These included San Pedro Town Council councilors, the San Pedro Police Formation, Hope Haven Children Shelter, advocates, and the private sector. The 9AM to noon session was very interactive, with the presenters discussing equality between men and women. The presentations touched on traditional practices still tolerated today in which women are marginalized and deprived of specific social posts and activities.
The session stressed the need for change and equal participation for both men and women in society. According to the presentations, such balance in any community will uplift that particular municipality’s services and human development. Over time, more women in Belize are obtaining degrees in different fields. However, men still dominate the workforce.  As such, the presenters added that much more must be done.
It was emphasized that the mindset of ‘only girls wash dishes and boys take care of the yard’ needs to change. This attitude is believed to perpetuate stereotypes and biases that can even spread to the workplace. According to the information in the session, this can also perpetuate rape culture and sexual harassment at work and even on the street.
Another message shared at the end of the gathering is for women to help each other, seek help when necessary, and for society to allow women to choose and enjoy the opportunities available in the country. Organizers are also considering hosting a gathering with men to sensitize them on how domestic violence affects families and young children and the importance of including women in all aspects of society.
The campaign was launched on June 25th in Belize City by the NWC in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund under the Spotlight Initiative. This is a global, multi-year collaboration of the United Nations and the European Union focused on eliminating violence against women and girls. This issue is the campaign’s focus and aims to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs), specifically SDG 5 on Gender Equality. Spotlight encompasses six pillars, and pillar three focuses on prevention to address the root causes underpinning existing social norms, attitudes, and behaviors in Belizean communities.
The sensitization will continue reaching other communities nationwide and spreading the message of gender equality.

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